How trailblazing Yardbird Paul Samwell-Smith helped bass playing take flight

(Image credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Paul Samwell-Smith’s career has largely been spent behind the mixing desk as a hugely successful engineer and producer, but he is also acclaimed as a founding member of the Yardbirds.

Back in 1963, it wasn’t the done thing to both play in the band and also have responsibility for the recordings; indeed, there were still recording studio staff wearing lab coats. But Samwell-Smith was always one to buck the trend, not least in his dapper, well-groomed appearance - which contrasted hugely with the longer haired, scruffier look of his contemporaries.

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